June 6, 2013

NSA spying on Verizon phone records is nothing new

Filed under: Uncategorized — Greg in cheeseland @ 11:58 pm

Author’s note:
Here we go again with another “scandal” that should have been uncovered during the Bush administration. Now watch the fascists blame this on Obama…

The “shocking” revelation that the NSA requested phone records from Verizon is not surprising to anyone who has been watching the rise of the police state that America has become since 9/11. The only thing new is now that a British newspaper published the story, the U.S. media and congress have to acknowledge it very publicly.

Today, lawmakers such as Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) defended the practice as essential for national security. Others such as Rand Paul (R-KY) and Jeff Merkely (D-OR) called it, respectively, an “astounding assault on the constitution” and an “outrageous breach of Americans’ privacy.”

While Senator Feinstein stated that the practice has been in place since 2009, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) more correctly pointed out that “it’s gone on for some seven years.” Indeed, the legal justification for monitoring the phone calls of U.S. citizens can be traced back to the Patriot Act, which became law on October 26, 2001.

Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO), both on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a March 2012 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that most Americans would be “stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted section 215 of the Patriot Act.”

Americans would be even more stunned to learn that Verizon’s approximately 120 million customers are not the only ones being snooped on by government agencies – nearly every American is. And most Americans who rely on print and TV news probably have never heard of fusion centers and exactly what they do at the expense of their tax dollars.

Regarding the recent disclosure of the NSA court order for Verizon customer phone records, Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel for the ACLU, said in a statement:

Now that this unconstitutional surveillance effort has been revealed, the government should end it and disclose its full scope, and Congress should initiate an investigation. This disclosure also highlights the growing gap between the public’s and the government’s understandings of the many sweeping surveillance authorities enacted by Congress.

Like so many post-9/11 surveillance laws passed under the vague guise of “national security,” the policies of the U.S. government violate the civil liberties of ordinary Americans that should be guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and other laws.

The Senate report and the activity of fusion centers makes it clear that these facilities are designed to spy on American citizens, invading their privacy while doing nothing to stop terrorism. The request by the NSA to monitor the phone records of Verizon customers is only one pixel in a part of a much larger picture.

Many of the newly reborn proponents of civil liberties and constitutional rights were silent when those freedoms were being trampled upon as congress was running all over each other to let them be taken away shortly after 9/11. Now, our “news” is filled with “scandals” when the real things that Americans should be concerned about are ex post facto.

This is yet more evidence that America is turning from a democracy or constitutional republic into a corporate fascist state. Just look at the 14 defining characteristics of fascism and decide for yourself.

Read the full article, get links and a video here: Madison Independent Examiner.

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